Dallas Cowboys: Why Amari Cooper is a great addition

Dallas cowboys Amari Cooper #89 (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Dallas cowboys Amari Cooper #89 (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The cost may be high but the reality is Amari Cooper is a fantastic addition to this Dallas Cowboys team. Here’s why this was a good move…

Before we get into what the Dallas Cowboys gave up for wide receiver Amari Cooper, let’s first look at what they have in the former two time Pro Bowler. Cooper, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, is a complete receiver. He has the speed to get deep, the second gear to break away, runs crisp routes to create separation, has athleticism to win contested balls, and possesses an enormous catch radius to collect rogue passes.

He’s a No. 1 receiver by any definition and for as gifted as he is, he has the very real chance of becoming elite. At just 24-years old, Cooper is only six months older than popular 2018 Cowboys Nation draft target, Calvin Ridley (only Cooper comes with a lot more potential). 

Cooper has the ability to play X, Z, or slot. He runs a full route tree and blocks fairly well when asked to. More than anything, Amari Cooper brings the Dallas Cowboys big play ability which demands double teams. Cooper has the kind of dominance that can take a game over. He’s a threat absolutely everywhere on the field and shows top-level run after the catch.

As NFL’s Next Gen Stats points out, the Dallas Cowboys are averaging only 2.2 yards of separation this season (last in the NFL). Cooper brings with him a gaudy 3.8 yards (4th in the NFL). Think this will be a welcomed sight for Dak Prescott?

Are there any concerns?

Of course. Every player in the NFL comes with concerns and Ameri Cooper is no different. Drops are a concern to many in Cowboys Nation, but as former DC scout Bryan Broaddus said, they are largely overblown and correctable (I’m paraphrasing). And keep in mind, this season he only has two drops so he’s already trending in a positive direction.

His “feast or famine” production indicates he checks out games if not involved early. But as Pro Football Focus (subscription required) pointed out, that’s more on the quarterback than on him. In the 19 career games with 30 yards or less, Cooper was only targeted 4.15 times per game. Significantly down from his normal 9.1 target average in the remaining games.

Others have said Cooper doesn’t love the game of football. But this is something insiders have repeatedly disagreed with and many have called these rumors nothing more than a smear campaign.

Amari Cooper is one of the best young receivers in the game and one that every team in the NFL (not named Raiders) would give their right arm for. Yet…only one team was willing to give a first round pick for him. So is he worth the cost?

Would you rather?

Outside of a proven franchise quarterback, a first round draft pick is the most valuable thing in professional football. These picks not only usher in young talent, but they also help teams balance the budget through their affordable slotted salaries.

With that said, the bust rate on rookie receivers is immense. We see sure things turn into busts year after year at a rate much higher than most other positions. Perhaps that’s why teams like the Patriots use the trade market for receivers so often. They simply can’t afford the time and effort it takes to swing and miss year after year. Perhaps the Cowboys can’t afford to wait either.

Additionally, look who’s been available on the free agent market the past few seasons. Do you see players even remotely as attractive as Amari Cooper? The Dallas Cowboys wanted to throw north of $16M at Sammy Watkins this past offseason. Not only is Watkins a fraction of the talent Cooper is but his contract would cripple the Dallas Cowboys budget for years to come.

Speaking of the long-term risk…

Why this is not the Joey Galloway or Roy Williams kinda deal

The Dallas Cowboys did more than just speak to the Raiders here. They also reached out to Amari Cooper’s camp. They made sure Cooper was on board with this move and that he wouldn’t insist on an extension until his contract is played out.

When Dallas traded for Galloway and Williams, they did so in conjunction with a shiny new contract. They went all in and it burned them twice over. With Cooper, Dallas is investing on a trial basis. They get to test drive their fun new toy for the next 25+ games. If they like what they see then they will offer an extension. If not, they can cut bait, accept the enormous sunk costs, and avoid doubling-down on stupid.

It should go without saying Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff need to make this work. If Dak doesn’t trust him, and the coaches can’t find a way to build that trust, Cooper’s integration will suffer.

Know this: Derek Carr is having a terrible season (yes, worse than Dak), yet when he targets Cooper, his QBR is 99.3.  

For those who are demanding results this is an ideal situation. Cooper is playing for a new contract so he’s heavily motivated to make the next 25 games work. Dak is playing for a new contract (and his job), so he’s heavily motivated to make this work. Jason Garrett and staff are playing for their next contract, (and also their jobs), so they’re extra motivated to make this work. The incentives are in place.

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Amari Cooper brings to the Dallas Cowboys 19 TDs,  11 of which are from 30+ yards. This big play element has been missing since forever and stretch the field for both Zeke and the running game as well as Beasley and the passes underneath. It’s a costly move but it’s also a potential homerun move adding a building block for the future who’s ready to produce for today.

  • Published on 10/23/2018 at 12:09 PM
  • Last updated at 10/23/2018 at 12:45 PM